Archive | November, 2014

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Has Sturgeon thrown a spanner in the works over Corporation Tax?

There is increasing speculation that the Chancellor, George Osbourne is to announce that Corporation Tax powers will be devolved to Northern Ireland. All of the main parties here support the move, so you would think it would be relatively simple to do it. However, the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Stugeon might have just thrown a more…

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The trolling of Ann Travers

The first in a three part series exploring so-called ‘trolling’ and abuse on social media At the beginning of November 2014 it was widely reported that victims campaigner Ann Travers had closed down her Facebook and Twitter accounts following a barrage of online abuse. It’s worth reminding people of the fact that Ann’s sister, Mary, more…

Is it time to reduce our number of MLAs?

So our MLAs are currently still engaging in yet another talks process and according to the BBC earlier in November, the DUP circulated a paper which again highlighted their support for the deflation of Stormont departments and a reduction in the number of MLAs. While the DUP support a reduction in MLAs from the current more…

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Christians on the Left host food poverty debate

The number of food banks is on the rise in Northern Ireland. According to Advice NI, the number of food banks in Northern Ireland has increased from two in 2011, to at least 14 in 2014, and Trussell Trust reports distributing more than 11,000 free food parcels this year. Churches have taken a lead in mobilising volunteers, more…

New powers for Scotland threaten constitutional crisis for the UK

David Cameron’s claim that the Smith report will create “a stronger Union “ rings hollow when  set against  his insistence that the case for  English votes on English laws is “ unanswerable,”  If it means that English MPs should have a veto on any measure they don’t like that a future  Labour government proposes, it will more…

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Here’s to you Mr Robinson for keeping Nationalism alive

It was back in 2010, I was working down in Cork on some research for my PhD, like everybody else I was gripped by the arrival of the IMF in Ireland and the ensuing collapse of the government as the Green Party announced that they wanted an election in early 2011. Well, there pushes Irish more…

Corporation Tax and Northern Ireland’s (Economic) Walking Dead

Northern Ireland is a funny, self-obsessed place. And the arguments in favour or against the idea of a reduced corporation tax rate tend to be somewhat navel-gazing. Today people were picking fights with me on twitter because I’d suggested that reduced corporation tax here would make Northern Ireland more attractive for business. But, as some more…

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Photo of the day – Manannan Mac Lir

  Photo by: Stephen Wallace Manannan Mac Lir is an Irish Sea God overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from the slopes of Benevenagh Mountain, County Derry/Londonderry

Courtesy of Phil Flanagan MLA

Hamilton calls time on Speaking Clock at Stormont

If you don’t follow Sinn Fein’s Phil Flanagan on Twitter you should and for no other reason than he asks the most under the radar assembly questions you can think of. Today he got a response to a question he posed to the Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton a few weeks ago on the cost of more…

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Assembly report clears Peter Robinson over Spotlight

Well after a number of attempts the report from the Assembly Standards Commissioner has finally released the report into the BBC Spotlight programme into Iris Robinson in January 2010. The report clears Peter Robinson of any wrong doing, whilst Iris Robinson has been found in “serious breach” of the Stormont code of conduct by failing more…

Gregory Campbell and the law of unintended consequences

Not that he cares but Gregory Campbell MP’s recent remarks about the Irish language and his contemptuous dismissal of the campaign for an Irish Language Act has had some unintended consequences from those he may have imagined. It’s very easy to see why Gregory Campbell, drifting as he was to the margins of his party more…

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Roisin McDonough: The Arts: Small size, big value

The debate over cuts to arts funding have been in the headlines in recent days, writing for Slugger, the Arts Council’s Chief Executive, Roisin McDonough argues against cutting arts funding Supporting the campaign for ‘No more cuts to the arts’, actor James Nesbitt observed wryly that “without the arts we’re just left with politics, and more…

Adams and Campbell.. the essence of sectarian politics

Eamonn McCann’s analysis of the “war of words “ between Gerry Adams’ “Unionist bastards”  and Gregory “toilet paper” Campbell reminds me an insight about political behaviour from the former Irish Times journalist and ex Unionist politician Frank Millar, whose regular  acute observations are sorely missed. Gained by close observation in the hot house of the more…

TUV Jim Allister to run for European Election

Allister on Robinson, Paisley, TUV’s Future, Irish and Opposition

As the TUV annual conference approaches this weekend, I caught up with the party leader Jim Allister. We talked about his work on the Social Development Committee, the Irish language and his relationship with other parties in the Assembly. (Note I did this interview before Gregory Campbell’s conference speech) I began by asking him how more…